A few years back my children gave me a Mother’s day gift that some may think a little different-and that is fine. It was a childrens book and, I would have to say, the only childs book that I have yet to read all the way through without getting choked up. In fact, I remember the first time I read it-waaaaaay back when my youngest was a toddler, and thinking that there was a punchline somewhere (I have always been a bit jaded). There was no punchline and this book has followed me and my children ever since. It was the words to the title that came to me when my son broke the news that he was being deployed to Afghanistan.
Love You Forever is a sweet, sometimes silly, account of the relationship between a Mother and son but is more. It is about the bond a Mother has to her children-one that is ethereal, deep and stronger than steel. So, when the words were spoken, “I’ve been deployed”, behind my attempt at an upbeat response my heart was pounding out the words from this book,
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
Though I have never driven to his house in the dark of night to gather him up in my arms like the mother in the book (I prefer to hug them frequently and in the light of day- but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to do that for all my children!) the desire at that moment was to grab on…tight. The only thing that prevented that was the fact that I was on the other side of the state, stuck in traffic and hours away from home. This too saved him from witnessing the quiet breakdown I experienced. I didn’t want to cry-I had not intention of doing so-but it seemed I had no choice in the matter-the tears just came. The term “a good cry” took on a whole new meaning-I had myself a good ole cry and made a few phone calls to moms I knew who would understand.
There are many facets to this moment and mine is a small portion of it. My son is newly married (only three months), living in an unfinished house with his beautiful little wife-who I love (many of my tears were for her too). I grew up a military kid and married into the military life so there is this ‘understood’ that deployment and separation are always a part of the equation. That doesn’t make it any easier.
As the mother of two military men (I originally wrote boys but somehow this isn’t the case anymore) I am aware of all the potentials. Military child to military wife and now military mother. Military kid? It was something my Dad did and it was just life. Military wife? There was a strength that came-had too, there was so much I had to do to keep things going. Military mother? I find it very different. It is sort of helplessness that I can’t put my finger on–all I can do now is stand back and watch…wait…and do the best I can to support my son’s new little military wife.
That is enough for today-I have some pots that are begging for plants. I went last night with my kids to get my mother’s day flowers and it is a perfect day to get them started in their new home. I have the feeling this will be the first installment of many posts that will involve this unfolding chapter in our lives. Bear with me…